The Coffee Shop Musical is about the history of humanity being told through AI.
They mention different types of people throughout their time in a coffee shop and how it led to the destruction of humanity.
You have a coffee shop owner, a graduate, a freelancer, and an influencer.
The AIs take the audience through their lives and show us how humanity died.
We first meet our coffee shop owner played by Alex James Ellison.
The narrator who is a different type of AI, explains Drew’s while he acts it out.
He sings while he does so.
A freelancer played by Harriet Caplan-Dean, joins the coffee shop and sings along with him about what she would like.
After they’ve finished their song, the AI resumes explaining these two people’s lives.
They sing songs which are used to explain their feelings and explain actions that these two are stereotypically known for.
The jokes bring laughter to the room as the AIs make fun of humankind.
This production is about laughing about humankind but also relating to the audience even if we aren’t any of the four characters.
Having the show in a coffee shop was a rather good idea. I love watching quirky shows especially when they’re held in different locations where you wouldn’t find your standard production.
One of my favourite locations for a location was The Jewish Museum because that show was about Jewish people and it made the production feel more authentic.
That’s what The Coffee Shop Musical did.
It brings the audience into the space rather than making them feel like they have to imagine being there.
Manchester is a warm and welcoming community and it felt like that.
A coffee shop had given up their space for people to do a passion project and that really showcases what Manchester is all about.
We are one big family and we will take care of each other. Another reason why I enjoyed the setting is that the show itself was about human connection and breaking out from your own little world and routine.
And that made me think about my own routine and how City life is going to all the same places and never going to the quirky coffee shops that are willing to give up their space for passion projects.
As there were only two actors, it was rather easy to mention them both, and I definitely want to.
Harriet Caplan-Dean was on stage with Six: The Musical as Catherine Parr, and she’s homegrown and what an honour to hear that voice.
She does a great job with the influencer but also makes you feel bad for her when she sings about people commenting on her posts because I do think we tend to forget the toll it takes on influencers.
They may be living a life that seems easy to the rest of us but bullies are always there.
Alex James Ellison brings the comedy with his quick costume changes and his reactions to the audience. He walked into the audience a lot to sing to the audience and bring them more into the show.
During a moment at the beginning, Ellison does give out some cake and it gives a moment for him to speak to the audience and get a feel of their vibe for the performance.
His characters are more vulnerable than Dean’s as hers are more strong and more confident. They both bring relatability to their characters and their voices harmonise beautifully together.
You can catch Harriet Caplan-Dean and Alex James Ellison tomorrow night at Takk.
On the topic of AI, I thought I would let Chat GPT give a summary of the show for you.
“A witty and engaging musical that cleverly explores the downfall of humanity through the eyes of diverse coffee shop characters, with outstanding performances by Harriet Caplan-Dean and Alex James Ellison that strike a chord with the audience. Now time to take over the world…”
-Chat GPT, 2023